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Best Truck Bed Covers And Truck Bed Spray Liners, From Craigslist To Car Dealer

Updated on February 26, 2018

Thirty years ago, when a person needed to place something in his or her truck bed and keep it dry or covered, they would have to use a tarp or have a camper shell. Also, that same truck bed was often scratched beyond recognition of the trucks color. Today, however, there are many options to make your truck bed more usable by providing covers and liners that can keep your truck bed looking new for years.

Are you stuck in the days when a plastic bed liner was the best you could get? Do you still have an old camper shell to use when you need a covered truck bed? Find out how truck bed spray liners and a fold-able tonneau cover or another bed cover can help you get more use out of your truck and save you time and money in the long run.

The Best Truck Bed Covers

Gone are the days that the only truck bed cover available was a camper shell. Although camper shells are still available, they are much more sleek and aerodynamic. New camper shells generally range from $500-$800 depending on truck make and bed length. As stated before, they are much more aerodynamic now, in most cases, and are less likely to take away from your truck's fuel economy. Used shells can also be found fairly easily on ebay and in classifieds such as Craigslist.

A much more common solution to cover your truck bed these days is to use a tonneau cover. Tonneau covers range from hard covers that raise up by pneumatic shocks to soft, retractable covers that slide open to allow full use of your truck bed. There are even soft and foldable tonneaus that are easily taken off of the bed for you to carry tall cargo. Tonneaus range in price from $200-$1,000 depending on size and whether you want it to match your trucks paint. These are currently one of the most sought after truck accessories on the market today.

The Best Truck Bed Spray Liners

For years, truck buyers would purchase plastic truck bed liners to keep their truck beds free of scratches and rust only to have water get trapped under the liner and rust through the bed. Often, truck owners would not even know their was a problem until the liner was replaced.

Today, there are many different brands of truck bed spray liners and roll-on liners to choose from. Spray liners, like Line-X, are either a polyurethane mix or a pure polyurethane. They cost around $400 for a truck bed, rails, and tailgate and often carry a lifetime warranty from the installer. Although some money can be saved by purchasing a roll-on kit, they are around $75, they are generally not as tough and do not hold their color as well.

If you are buying a car from a dealer, often you can negotiate to get them to have a spray liner put in before purchase. If you are looking to have a liner put into your current truck, don't hesitate to look at samples of the product and search around for the best price for the type liner you want.

Which Do You Need, A Cover Or A Liner?

If you are wondering which type of bed protection I would recommend, in a word, both. The protection that the liner gives to keep your bed from scratching and rusting is priceless. Also, the versatility that a tonneau will give your truck is immeasureable. You will be able to use your bed to haul any cargo in any weather.

However, I will say that I do not recommend the hard tonneau cover unless you are certain that you will never, or hardly ever, transport cargo that is taller than the tonneau can open. Yes, the hard tonneau can be removed to accommodate the cargo, but it is not easy and will definitely add to any frustration you may have.


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    • Tom Zizzo profile image

      Tom Zizzo 3 years ago from Santa Clara, CA

      I don't know where you can get a new camper shell for $500 to $800. I sold camper shells for many years, in the mid 90's, the cheapest new shell you could get was $600, but that was then. Now, a cheap new shell will cost you at the least about $1,300, and they go up from there.

    • profile image

      Candice Harding 3 years ago

      This is a great resource for new truck owners, or owners looking to up their truck's protection. Whether you need a truck bed cover or liner (or both) really does depend on how you use the truck and where you store your truck. A cover is a great place to start protecting your truck (and everything in its bed), especially if you live in a wet or windy area.

      Candice Harding

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Very informative